We heard earlier today that Orioles manager Buck Showalter made some interesting comments to USA Today about the repercussions of a possible suspension of Alex Rodriguez, specifically that the Yankees would be able to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold next season and potentially spend freely in free agency once again. He used his own catcher, Matt Wieters, as an example of someone who the Yankees could have their eye on. However, if Showalter had it his way, the comments would have never seen the light of day.
According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, Showalter said this afternoon that he thought his comments were off-the-record.
“I said it and someone decided to print it,” Showalter said. “It’s unfortunate, but what are you going to do? … It all boils out from the idea that we’d like Matt to be with us. We like him.”
Sure enough, Wieters was asked about the USA Today article prior to tonight’s game, so Showalter probably wasn’t upset about his general theory getting out as much as he was regretful about name-dropping one of his own players and causing a momentary distraction in the clubhouse. But the sentiment is certainly understandable. A suspension of Rodriguez — who is set to make $25 million next season — would be a gift to the Yankees.
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.
Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.
Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.
Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.